If/when I end up needing a wheelchair, I've decided to skip that and go right to the robocopesque exoskeleton. I mean, seriously. Stephen Hawking on steroids. How cool would that be? That, along with some Darth Vader voice banking, and I would be fulfilling most of my childhood fantasies. Who knew that ALS might end up being a cool thing after all?
I mean, don't get me wrong. It's not that I particularly enjoy the idea of losing all my muscle mass to the point of requiring augmentation to even pick up a fork. But if I'm going down that road, might as well go out in style.
So this particular get-up comes out of Japan (duh). It currently can be leased for about $1000 a month. Although I'd like to see the price come down to about $100 a month, I imagine there are probably many people with ALS who would line up for this even now, if they knew about it.
Of course, I understand the grim reality, that due to the progressive nature of the degeneration involved, there's probably on a small window of opportunity to use this device before it's (presumably) unable to detect the required muscle movements to respond. However, I imagine as well that it's not insurmountable, and with sensitive enough sensors (or brainwave scanning), maybe even Professor Hawking could walk again.
But don't take my word for it; take a look yourself...